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PBS Names Hoope, Thoms VPs, Programming, General Audience

PBS is borrowing some expertise from a private-sector cable programming powerhouse to strengthen its prime time programming lineup.

Beth Hoppe, formerly executive producer at Discovery Studios, and Donald Thoms, who has been a consultant to Discovery, MTV, Travel Channel and others as head of ThomsMediaGroup, are joining PBS as VPs, programming, general audience. They report to John Wilson, PBS SVP and chief TV programming executive.

They will be in charge of generating new primetime programming, "refreshing" existing offerings, and putting it on different platforms. PBS says its primetime audience has grown 7% since June 2010 and it wants to keep that momentum going.

Hoppe is former president of Optomen Productions, where she produced shows for PBS, Animal Planet, Food Network, and Discovery. She is returning to her noncom roots. She is former director of science programming for one of PBS's anchor producing stations, WNET New York, and worked on NOV, WGBH's newscast and New Hampshire Public Television.

Thoms is former VP, program production, for Discovery Health. It is even more of a PBS homecoming for Thoms, who was VP, program management, for PBS from 1993 to 1999.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.